Thursday, August 27, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 4-2

She needed to find someone that could help her. This city had metahumans. One among them could lead her to what she needed. She did not exactly enjoy having to use one that way. She knew they were mostly good people. But her mission came first. She needed to stop the evil that corrupted River City from spreading. One of them would help. She just needed to determine which of the men and women she sought was that one.

But first, she needed to make her exit. The front of the store was out of the question, at least if she wanted to remain unseen. She couldn’t alert the world to her presence, not if she hoped to keep her arrival secret. The Enemy was already here. He would be watching. Which meant, she needed to find an alternate means of escape. She looked towards the ceiling. It would have to do.

She pulled the sleeves up off her lower arms. Comfortable they were out of the way, she pointed her fingertips upward. With a deep breath, she unleashed a blast of pure energy straight into the ceiling. The energy instantly vaporized the tile and the concrete above it, all without making even the lightest sound.

Kaihime shot straight upward. Her flight systems were based on antigravity technology decades ahead of anything this era knew. She could imagine mother chiding her for their use. She would say Kaihime shouldn’t expose this world to future tech. But the nanotechnology was embedded deep within Kaihime’s cybernetic systems. If she was captured and dissected, far worse secrets existed inside her. She would simply need to stay out of the hands of those that might misuse her. Or alternately, stay alive. The tech couldn’t be removed from her while she still lived.

She flew up and over the city. She felt the pull of the massive buildings. She could see hundreds of cars moving like ants beneath her. It was like what she saw on the cable, but seeing it personally was like nothing she could imagine. Thousands of people, maybe even more. It terrified her. Growing up in The Aerie, she had almost always been on her own, with mother flitting in and out. Here she realized alone was just a concept, as other humans were always dangerously close. It terrified her.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 4. Kaihime

Waves of static and energy coursed around her as Kaihime appeared out of nowhere. The crackles of energy lit up the shadows that surrounded her. Her body screamed in pain as every ounce of her skin burned with the power from the teleportal.

She leaned down on one knee as the energy ripped through her. She thought for a moment it would tear her to pieces. Perhaps leaving the Aerie was a mistake. Perhaps she would die here. But the energy from the portal slowly subsided.

Kaihime slowly stood. She was naked except for the lines of circuit that coated her neck and the right side of her body. She disrobed before she had first stepped into the teleportal. The vast energies of the transfer would have destroyed her clothes. She would need to find something to wear before she stepped out into this world. Though she never visited this place, she knew they would frown on something as frivolous as nudity.

She looked around the room. In the dim light, she saw boxes, racks and various half-made features. Clothes were all around her. She just needed to find an outfit.

The Aerie received transmissions from Earth, but until her mother vanished, Kaihime wasn’t allowed to watch many of them. Once Mom was gone, she started watching whatever she wanted. With little else to do in the Aerie, she spent days and days consuming the thing Americans called “cable” because of the cord that transferred it from one house to another. Though the name made little sense, she particularly loved the fashion and style shows. One show featuring a strange family of seemingly worthless beings called “Kardashians” particularly intrigued her.

She now used the knowledge from that show to choose a blouse and pants from the stacks. A pair of high heeled boots completed the ensemble, though she found them a bit hard to walk in. She wondered why humanity wore them if they weren’t comfortable or sensible. Whatever the reason, she decided to keep them after a look in the mirror. They looked too good to not wear.

Kaihime pulled on the ensemble, but as she took time to lace up the boots, she heard the sound of movement outside the room. She knew she was in some kind of store, probably in the backroom. Perhaps the workers had arrived. Or she had awakened some kind of security drone unit. She stopped herself. They do not yet have that kind of technology in this timeline. But if people were here, she needed to be anywhere else.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

River City History: Yankee Doodle Jones

As Andy Stein watched the new being rise and meet his father, a group of Fifth Columnists attacked the facility. Breaking in on the lab, they opened fire. The super-man leaped to the defense of his maker, but it was already too late. Albrecht and Andy Stein both took several hits from submachine gun fire. Albrecht died instantly. His son struggled to the nearest lab table where the serum that ran through the super-man’s veins rested. He drank the remainder of the formula even as he quickly bled out from his wounds.

The new man leaped into action against the traitors. He made short work of them as his bulletproof skin and super-strength made him more than a match for armed killers. He left them broken, bleeding and dying, just like the man that created him.

Andy Stein’s wounds healed quickly as the serum slowly replaced his own bloodstream. He would be the first—and last—human to survive the use of this formula (though distillations or similar formulas would give powers to Black Terror and Doc Strange).

The new creation was the sum of all his parts, but the patriotic fervor of the veterans proved his strongest trait. He declared himself a protector of the freedoms and standards of the American people. He dubbed himself Yankee Doodle after first helping Andy to his feet. When the boy introduced himself, he misheard the boy’s name as Dandy.

Yankee Doodle and Dandy would become the first super-powered agents of a mysterious American spymaster known only as Uncle Sam. He gave the new hero the last name Jones. (Dandy would also operate under the pseudonym Andrew Jones.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 3-2

She quickly recapped the events of their day together that ended at Whitey’s. She only choked up once when she told the tale of the second explosion that took Stomp’s life. She told it all, only leaving out her night with Keith that followed.

I’m still not sure why I did that myself. It was good and I want to see him again, but I was way too vulnerable to let myself be taken in so easily. I barely knew him. I know better than to trust anyone in this city. This might not be Mexico, but these people are just as corrupt.

“Are you alright? Rosa, are you there?”

The words seemed strange from a man she called a cold-blooded killer. But she realized she let the phone remain silent too long.

“Yes, I am here. And I think I will be alright. Whitey was hurt in the blast, but he’s already up and taking care of the arrangements for Stomp’s funeral. They still haven’t found his mother yet, but he apparently left a will that named Whitey as executor. They haven’t identified Stomp’s remains from those in the fire, but it sounds doubtful they will identify anyone left behind due to the level of heat.”

“Damn. I can come over. I know you don’t trust me, but I wouldn’t want you to be alone. I have someone with me. Her name’s Phoebe and she’s someone I met while we were gone. She’s got powers as well. Maybe together we can find out who did this.”

“Do you think it was the people that captured me? Maybe they decided if they couldn’t capture us, they would kill us.”

“No, I don’t think so. They didn’t seem to want you—or any of us—dead,  but we can find out together. Okay?”

Rosa couldn’t quite believe Ian was being so nice to her, but her mother warned her as a youth that El Sanguijuelo was a trickster. But she did need help and a few other faces might do her good today.


Rosa wasn’t sure whether she was making a mistake or not, but she knew she couldn’t let Stomp’s murder go unavenged. One way or another, she would find the responsible party and make him pay.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 3. Rosa

The phone rang again and again. It had been three days since Stomp died. Four days since she first met the men and women that saved her from Doppelganger and the shadow organization that still lurked out there.

Rosa came to River City—to America—with one goal. She didn’t want to be a metahero. She wanted to live a normal life in a normal town. And in a matter of a week, she found herself under attack twice. And now she couldn’t even get a phone call through to the people that helped her through it.

Until today. On the fourth ring, someone picked up the phone.

“Uh, you’ve reached Spirit Cop. Alli’s not here, but can I take a message for you?”

Her immediate surprise was replaced by a sudden revulsion. Of all the people she hoped to hear, Ian Page was not the one. She knew El Sanguijuelo was a killer. He might pretend ignorance of his condition, but she knew it was just a ploy, a way to stay close to other metahumans he could kill. But she didn’t have much choice. She needed to talk to the others.

“Ian, hello.”


“Yes. Yes, it’s me. I’ve been trying to talk to Alli, Marilyn, anyone for days.”

“Anyone but me, you mean.”

Rosa’s silence answered his question. She wouldn’t lie to him, even if she thought he was a monster. She didn’t like him, but she would tolerate him until he played his hand.

“No, I’m not going to get mad about it,” Ian said. “You have your reasons. You may very well be right. But we’ve been away for a few days. It’s a long story.”

“I—I have my own story. As you say in English, I have some bad news,” Rosa didn’t know any other way to put it.

“What is it? What’s going on?”

“It’s Garrett. Or Stomp. Whatever. He’s—” She took a deep breath and held back the tears. Even after seventy-two hours, the words felt wrong. “He’s dead. A building exploded and he was inside.”

Ian was silent on the other end of the phone line. She couldn’t blame him. It was not news she wished to share, let alone force another to process. Rosa still couldn’t quite process the news herself. He might truly be a monster, but Ian seemed to truly care about Stomp. Or at least he knew how to fake it. She still wasn’t sure she could trust his story, but that didn’t matter now.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

ICONS Character Profile: Rosa Acevedo

Name: Waterspeed

Real Name: Rosa Acevedo

Origin: Birthright

First Appearance: Book One, Chapter 7


Prowess 5

Coordination 5

Strength 5

Intellect 5

Awareness 6

Willpower 5

Stamina 10

Determination 2





Aquatic 5

Super-Senses 6

Super-Speed 6

(air control, fast attack)


Connections: Guadalajara Guardians

Motivation: non-“heroic” life


Bad Luck

Enemy (Doppelganger)

Enemy (mysterious organization)

Rosa Acevedo’s origins lie in Guadalajara, Mexico. There she was a daughter of two superhuman beings, the underwater adventurer Aquatico and the super-fast Rapida. Because of her origins, she was raised as a metahero, often using the name Waterspeed.

As Waterspeed, she never felt comfortable under dangerous circumstances, but always seemed drawn to them. She wants nothing more than to start a normal life in her new home, but keeps getting drawn back in to dangerous situations.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 2-4


“Hi,” he offered back. His tongue and brain couldn’t process any other response.

She waved him inside. She stepped aside and he stumbled in, still unsure of what exactly to say.

“I didn’t expect to see you today. After the last few days, I thought it might be easier to just let everything calm down. We’ve known each other a week, but it feels like years already.”

She chuckled and shook her head. “Listen to me. I talk like I’ve lived some long life now. I may have been born with a fully adult mind, but I’ve been around less than a decade. It seems weird just saying it. But it feels so distant, you know? But that trip with you reminded me that I’m not just another person. I’m something different. Something alien.”

He reached out. His hands found her hips. He pulled her close and met her eyes. “You’re something beautiful. Maybe you’re unique, but there’s no such thing as normal. You’re just another piece in the endless puzzle of this world.”

She smiled up at him, a radiant thing of beauty. Marilyn already carried the face of a matinee goddess, but her smile could melt anyone’s heart. He wanted nothing more than to lean in and feel those lips on his own. To kiss her and hold her and to melt into her.

She pulled away as though she sensed his desire. She turned away from him and walked across the room.

“Marilyn, I—”

Halfway across the living room and almost to the bed in the studio, she turned back to him.

“I love watching you get all flustered and confused. It’s terribly cute, Cyrus. But are you going to just stand in the doorway or are you going to come over to this bed and fuck me?”

“I—” Cyrus tried to spit out more words, but his tongue knotted up. His body said one thing and his mind said another.

Marilyn reached down and grabbed the hem of the perpetual sundress she always seemed to wear despite the weather. She pulled it up and over her head in one quick motion. But instead of it falling to the floor to expose her naked form, it melted into her hand and became part of her again, just another material for her moldable body structure.

She stood before him naked, a hand on her hip. “Well?”

Cyrus rushed across the room. His coat was already on the floor and his shirt flying over his head as he reached her. She pulled him down into the bed as their passion overwhelmed them.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 2-3

While Melinoe needed to get a job, so did he. His savings squirreled away over his childhood were almost gone, just enough to cover this and next month’s rent. He already wasn’t very popular with the neighbors. An eviction would just be embarrassing.

But a job could wait, at least for a bit. First he needed to talk to Marilyn.

Marilyn’s apartment was only a short skip from his own. She lived in a single bedroom flat in a bit classier part of the city, a middle class district named Clinton. It used to be one of the worst parts of the city, but a concerted partnership between the city and local business turned it into a middle class commune for eclectic shops and art houses. It was populated by folks the media would call hipsters although all of them hated the term.

It just made Cyrus glad to be living in somewhere that life actually happened. His family estate offered many amenities, but it could never quite be described as a place with a lot of life. Not really a surprise when one’s dad is the god of death.

He touched down on the roof. It always amazed him when he went airborne. So few people noticed him, because the people of the city rarely looked up over their town. Someone alighting on the roof of a towering apartment complex was nothing to Clinton. He supposed they were a bit too cool for that.

The one thing he learned as a flyer was that rooftop entrances were far less secure than ground ones. Even apartment complexes with front locks often left their roof doors with either no lock or a simple lock easily manipulated by a concentrated burst of sonic energy.

In the case of Marilyn’s apartment, the door—like the one on the ground level—was kept open. He could stroll easily into the building and down to her tiny one bedroom flat. Unlike his own apartment, hers was far closer to the ground. But also unlike his apartment, her elevator actually worked.

A minute later he was at her apartment door. He still wasn’t sure what he was going to say or how any of this was going to go. But he needed to talk to her. He needed to understand. He rapped his fist against the door three times. It took only a second for it to open. Marilyn stood before him. She offered him an awkward smile.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 2-2

“I’m not working for those things.”

“Those things are now your neighbors. You’re an American girl now, Mel. And no one is going to support you should you fall. So shut the hell up and find a damn job.”

“Uh! You’re as bad as they are,” Melinoe said. “You know I was this close to being queen of the universe and now I have to deal with this garbage. Do you understand how annoying that is?”

“I’m sure you will survive somehow. I expect you out and looking for a job today. Now I have to go. I have something I need to take care of.”

Melinoe shook her head. “You’re going to see that strumpet of yours. The one that hung on that other girl after she was hurt. I think you’re playing in fire, brother. Don’t get me wrong. I certainly think it’s terribly amusing to watch you flail and struggle, but I just thought it might be apt to give you a head’s up about this.”

“You’re truly a caring, loving sister.”

“Aren’t I though?”

Cyrus patted his sister on the arm. “I have to go. You clean up your mess and get out of here, understood.”

“Yeah, I got it already. Take care, brother.”

“And no killing!”

Melinoe stomped and pouted, but said nothing else as Cyrus left the room.

It took him only a few minutes to take the steps back up to the roof of his apartment, To Cyrus, it felt strange now to be here after the past few days. His father and mother kidnapped Marilyn and him from the same rooftop. After their trip back to his family home and into Hades itself, the rooftop was now just offered an eerie emptiness to him.

It also allowed him somewhere to travel from. With just a thought, Cyrus unleashed a concentrated sonic burst beneath him. The blast drove him into the air and continued bursts allowed him to maintain a path of flight up and over River City.

It was nearly noon and with winter nearing, the air up high was cool. Though River City winters were mild, Cyrus knew he would have to invest in better outerwear in order to take many more airborne routes over the city.

It felt good to not hide his abilities anymore though. He wasn’t on the run, in hiding from his angry parents. He could just live his life and use his powers as he saw fit. Even if those powers wouldn’t do him much good when it came to money.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 2. Cyrus

“You can’t stay here,” Cyrus said. “I don’t want you here. Can I make that any more clear?”

In the middle of his nearly empty living room, Melinoe shrugged at her younger brother’s anger. “I do what I’m told. And Mom and Dad told me that I had to come stay here with you. And by tell, I mean ordered under threat of far less favorable punishments if I didn’t. So you’re stuck with me.”

“You betrayed the entire world in an attempt to summon Caelus to this world. You wanted to bring about the destruction of mankind in order to get power.”

“Well, power and sex. Don’t forget the sex part.”

“Do you feel any remorse, Mel? Anything at all? This isn’t just a joke. In any reasonable universe, you would have been imprisoned forever for what you did. Instead you’re here.”

“I guess your dad thinks it would be good for me to spend some more time with the short-lifers. And you know more about them than anyone else I know. So I get shipped off to this little nothing town to be surrounded by you and your wannabe godling friends. It’s just about the most horrific thing I can imagine personally.”

Cyrus shook his head in disgust. He knew Melinoe well enough to know she was angry. But in his mind, she had no right to be. She brought this punishment down on herself when she betrayed their shared mother and Olympus. And like always, she didn’t care about anyone she hurt in the process. It was always her own gratification that took precedent to her. So he would have to teach her a lesson some way.

“I don’t have any money left, Mel. Mom and Dad didn’t seem to send any with you or me. So you will have to get a job.”

“A job? You can’t be serious. It’s bad enough I have to live around the short-timers. You want me to interact with them. That’s repulsive.”

“Neither of us have a choice, Mel. We’re going to be out on the street if we don’t bring in an income. You don’t have to like it, but it’s the way it is. And it probably won’t be anything either of us will like. I’ve found this country and this city to be magnificent, but it’s also built a system where the only people truly capable of success are those with greater educations. Mother and Father were wise enough to at least give us human documentation, but it doesn’t give us much to work with job wise.”

Saturday, August 1, 2015

River City History: The legacy of Frankenstein

Frankenstein became a name synonymous with uncontrolled science in the twentieth century, but the legacy of Victor Frankenstein’s creation sat fresh in the minds of many people around the world as the Second World War raged on. Dozens of artificial beings inspired by the original creature were created over the course of that half-decade, but perhaps the strangest had his origins in River City.

Albrecht Stein is now believed to be a descendant of the Frankenstein legacy, but modern records cannot be sure if even he was aware of that knowledge when he set to work on creating an artificial man as the United States entered the war in 1941. It is known that despite his German heritage he had an unrepentant hatred for the Nazi war machine.

But perhaps that does not forgive what some still call a crime against nature.

Stein gathered three veteran military men, all crippled in battle. None of the men remained functional members of society and Stein picked them because they all exhibited suicidal tendencies. Still, his methods still seem insane to most. Instead of operating on corpses like his ancestor Victor, Stein abducted these three men to make his artificial being. (Debate still exists as to whether the three men came willingly or not.)

It took him only a matter of hours to complete the complex surgery necessary to create his artificial man. Three men died, but a super-man took his place. Stein filled his creature’s veins with another experiment of his, a serum that caused that made his ubermensch nearly indestructible as well as faster and stronger than a mere mortal.

Albrecht’s son Andrew watched the whole procedure. Unfortunately for the Steins, he did it while compromising the job assigned to him by his father. Stein’s experiments were known to the United States government, but they were also known to Fifth Columnists within the U.S. ranks.

That would, in the end, cost numerous American lives.